This is me right now.
I’m sweating, I’m shaking a little, I’m kinda confused and a little sad. The Detroit Lions went out there against the best team in the NFL and played their damn hearts out. I know nobody likes moral victories, but this team proved without a shadow of a doubt that they are for real in their 34-30 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Lions defense is good
When you look at the score, it tells a whole different story, but here’s where the proof is. For starters, the Lions are the first team in the NFL to hold 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes to zero touchdowns since his first career start. They shook the kid on Sunday and brought him down a level when it mattered most.
Secondly, the Lions forced three turnovers. They gave up two themselves, but those turnovers were huge and gave the Lions the chance to do big things. Sometimes they capitalized, other times they didn’t.
They also cut out a lot of the big-chunk SportsCenter highlight plays you always see from this Chiefs team. They had a couple—Travis Kelce’s lateral play to LeSean McCoy comes to mind—but they took away those options for the Chiefs all day long.
Patrick Mahomes was efficient when targeting the short to intermediate part of the field, but failed to complete a deep pass (20+ air yards) on 9 attempts.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 29, 2019
It was Mahomes' first game of his career without a deep completion.#KCvsDET pic.twitter.com/erVnJ2Nlyo
They did all of this without Darius Slay, Quandre Diggs, Mike Daniels and Da’Shawn Hand. Even Mike Ford went down with an injury (though he eventually returned). This defense isn’t even full strength yet. Big things could be coming for the Lions on this side of the ball.
Matthew Stafford is a beautiful man
The Lions and their fans are lucky to have this guy. When it mattered most, he balled out. Dude went out there with a bad hip and trucked three guys on one play and just gave it his all despite getting killed on a few plays.
Stafford went 21-of-34 for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He completed 61.8 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 118.6. If you were hoping that Matthew would have a bounce-back year after last season, well here it is right in front of you.
Oh and this throw. My god, Matthew.
Talk about a small window: Matthew Stafford got this ball in between four defenders. pic.twitter.com/yvC8iqh6F2— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 29, 2019
Alright, I’m going to be a bit of a heel here. I hated that Breeland fumble recovery touchdown. When you’re watching the replay, it seemed like the refs waited around for 25 minutes to blow the whistle so that anything could happen, but when you watch it back at full speed, it’s pretty clear that’s not really the case. What sucks is that everyone thought the play was dead and nobody gave any indication as to whether it was. I hate to say it, but it’s a perfect example of not playing till the whistle blows.
Bashaud Breeland scoops up the loose ball and returns it 100 YARDS for the @Chiefs TD! @Bree2Land6 #ChiefsKingdom— NFL (@NFL) September 29, 2019
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app
Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/lm0vvtP8ei pic.twitter.com/D5gctECK9U
Where I do have a problem is the egregious hold on the final touchdown of the game that didn’t get called, the face mask on Kerryon Johnson that didn’t get called and the defensive pass interference on the Hail Mary at the end of the game. Jones was full-on tackled when the ball was in range. The Lions should have had an untimed play on the 1-yard line. But it is what it is.
Oh yeah there was also this.
missed it during the game, but Anthony Hitchens, who wasn't called today for this, was the same guy originally called for PI on Pettigrew in the 2014 playoff game - until the flag was inexplicably picked up. h/t @DetvrsEverybody pic.twitter.com/2sY477IKrm— Kellie Rowe (@kellierowe) September 29, 2019
Another 100-yard game for Kerryon Johnson
Kerryon is still young. He’s bound to make mistakes still. That fumble shouldn’t have ever happened. He probably thought he was closer than he truly was and tried to extend. It’s not like anyone can really see in these piles.
Aside from that, Kerryon went off Sunday for 125 yards on 4.8 yards per carry. Not a bad day on the ground at all. Couple that with two catches for 32 yards, and Johnson had himself a day.
The Lions have been wanting to get the run game going all seasons and on Sunday they did. They must continue to keep it up.
It’s time to start expecting big things from this team
To close things out here today, I’ll once again say that the Lions are absolutely for real. They stumbled in Arizona a little and everyone will continue to obsess about that. But otherwise, they’ve beaten two 2018 playoff teams and took the best team—the team that was supposed to demolish them—down to the thinnest wire possible. That’s a pretty impressive resume.
So with that in mind, the time where we look at this team and wonder if they’re good or not is over. Now it’s time to look at this team as a team that can and should not only make the playoffs, but win the division and maybe even that aforementioned playoff game.
Basically I’m saying that it’s okay to feel good about the Lions right now. But I’m also saying that it’s okay to be even more upset than you would have already been if they totally screw things up.
For the last three weeks, I’ve ended these articles with a song and encouraged you to dance and be happy. Since the Lions lost, but they still looked good and probably changed the perception of them nationally, I’ll just play this song cause why not?